A consortium of Dassault Aviation, Airbus and other partners has received an initial framework contract (Phase 1A) for the development of a next-generation combat jet.

The other partners include MTU Aero Engines, Safran, MBDA and Thales.

In 2017, France and Germany agreed to jointly work on the future air combat system.

The 18-month contract has been awarded by the governments of France and Germany for the launch of the demonstrator phase for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

Preliminary work under the deal includes the development of demonstrators and innovative, advanced technologies.

Test flights are expected to commence by 2026.

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In February 2019, Dassault Aviation and Airbus were awarded a contract by France and Germany to undertake a joint concept study (JCS) for the development of a next-generation combat jet.

The Next Generation Fighter (NGF) is the core element of the FCAS, with Dassault Aviation as a prime contractor and Airbus as the main partner of the project.

Airbus as prime contractor and MBDA as the main partner will be responsible for the development of unmanned systems such as remote carrier (RC). The Combat Cloud (CC) development will see Airbus as a prime contractor and Thales as the main partner.

The system’s engine would be developed by Safran and MTU as main partners.

To ensure accuracy and consistency among the demonstrators, a simulated environment will be developed jointly for the companies involved.

The next stage of FCAS development will include implementation of Phase 1B. This will be executed after the successful completion of Phase 1A.

Last year, Spain inked a framework agreement with France and Germany to join the programme and appointed Indra to lead its efforts.